Waste derived fuel and increased recycling can help tackle climate change according to a report on waste management and reducing greenhouse gases published by the Greater London Authority (GLA).
GLA head of environment Shirley Rodrigues said 100,000 tonnes of CO2 could be saved by 2015 just by using our waste as biomass.
Gasification and anaerobic digestion (AD) were shown by the research to be better than landfill options or incineration. Renewable gases could replace natural gas (fossil fuel) for combined heat and power (CHP). This is very exciting as it would bring economic and CO2 reduction benefits.
She said that the message that pyrolysis, which can create fuel for vehicles, is not incineration needs to be spread to boost public acceptance of new technologies.
Such technologies could transcend issues of grown biomass fuels, she added.
Energy supply is a key area of focus for reducing CO2 emissions. The supply of electricity and heat to domestic, commercial and industrial sectors produced 35 million tonnes of CO2 in 2006. That heat and electricity comes from centralised sources, which involves huge transmissions and heat losses, and a move to CHP would mean that this was eliminated. To support this, the mayor wants to move 25% of energy production from decentralised energy sources by 2025.
The mayor is trying to promote an increase in recycling and reduction in waste to landfill as well as having a preference for new technologies. There is a huge potential for improvement, we still landfill more than half of our waste.
Discussing targets she said that the mayor aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 60% by 2025 rather than 2050 which is the current Government target. However, she said that the 50% by 2050 target needs to be reviewed: In debates in Parliament about the Climate Change Bill many of the conclusions are starting to say we should be looking at an 80% reduction by 2050 because the science is showing that if we dont, we face catastrophic climate change.
The mayor sees waste as a resource in London and something to tackle in terns of making London sustainable. However, climate change needs a new approach. We are revising the mayors waste management strategy at the moment and this report provides a compelling argument about the policies within that strategy.
[We are looking at] treatment methods to maximise reduction of greenhouse gases while developing and implementing technologies that will create renewable energies. The key findings are that we need to move away from our reliance on outdated disposal methods and develop cleaner and greener methods.
The Greenhouse Gas Balances of Waste Management Scenarios report was launched at the ACR+ international conference on January 31 2008.
Image: Renewable gases could replace natural gas (fossil fuel) for combined heat and power (CHP).